Kindred Group’s subsidiary, Betchoice, which operates under the name Unibet, has been handed a steep fine of AU$60,000 for breaching advertising regulations in New South Wales, Australia. This decree emerged from Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court, following the revelation of illicit incentives offered to players within the region.
Controversial Marketing Strategy Spurs Penalty
The fine was instituted after an exhaustive inquiry led by Liquor & Gaming NSW into Unibet’s advertising campaigns. They were found to have included inducements for potential customers to engage in gambling activities and register for a betting account. Specifically, these inducements featured ‘price push’ offers, a type of special or enhanced odds deal.
Under the NSW Betting and Racing Act, such incentives, enticing either participation or frequent engagement in gambling, or opening a new betting account, are expressly prohibited. Betchoice admitted guilt for two offences under section 33H(1) of the Act, incurring a fine of $30,000 for each offence and a directive to shoulder the regulator’s costs.
Jane Lin, Liquor & Gaming NSW’s Executive Director of Regulatory Operations and Enforcement, voiced concern, remarking that betting operators have an obligation to ensure their advertising aligns with NSW gambling laws. She further noted the correlation between inducements and heightened risk of gambling harm, hence the severity of the breaches.
Uncomfortably, this isn’t the first time Betchoice has been slapped with a fine for unlawful advertising; it faced a $48,000 penalty in July 2021 for displaying three illegal gambling adverts.
Unibet AU$60k Fine: Implications for the iGaming Industry
The Unibet case highlights three significant points that ripple throughout the entire iGaming industry:
- The vigilance of regulatory bodies: Regulatory bodies worldwide are stepping up efforts to scrutinise advertising strategies within the iGaming sector, ensuring compliance with established laws. Operators must strive to meet these stringent standards to avoid hefty penalties.
- The potential for reputational damage: Regulatory infringements such as this not only result in financial loss but also tarnish the brand’s reputation, which may subsequently affect customer trust and loyalty.
- The increased focus on consumer protection: With inducements being linked to an increased risk of gambling harm, the industry needs to shift its focus towards safer, more responsible advertising, promoting a healthy gaming culture while protecting vulnerable individuals.